(This is Part 1 of 6 in the series)
Even though I lived just a short train ride from Central London for 26 years before moving to the US, the thought of braving crowds of tourists at Buckingham Palace did not appeal and so I rarely went in all the time I lived there.
However, on a trip home to visit family, I picked up a booklet about the Royal Mews that piqued my interest and my father and I decided to give it a try on bright spring day. We were not disappointed.
The Royal Mews are located just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, on Buckingham Palace Road, within easy walking distance from Victoria Station.
Visitors are welcome to visit the Mews, Monday through Thursday, from noon to 4p.m. The ticket office and gift shop are open from 9:30 a.m. Times are subject to change, so check first. The Visitor Info link on the right has a phone number and email address you can contact, and also information about facilities for disabled visitors.
If you time your visit right, you can pick up your tickets on the walk from Victoria Station to the Palace, catch the Changing of the Guard outside the Palace at 11 a.m., cross St. James Park and see the Horse Guards on Horse Guards Parade, and be back at the Mews during their opening hours.
The word "mews" dates back to the Middle Ages, when a mews was where the King's falcons were kept during their periods of "mewing" or changing their plumage.
The current Mews were designed by John Nash in 1824. The stables and coach houses are built in a quadrangle, with staff quarters above. The entrance is through an archway on Buckingham Palace Road, although visitors go through a small museum and shop to the right of the archway.
The Royal Mews are home to the Windsor Greys and the Cleveland Bays that are used to pull the carriages for State Visits, the Trooping of the Color, Royal Ascot and other Royal events.
The Royal Mews are managed by the Crown Equerry, who is responsible for the daily routine of the Mews.